Green and Gorgeous

With 27 holes, Stratton Mountain Resort offers golfers eye-popping views in a casual, relaxed setting.

By Wayne Mills

There are some golf destinations that just know how to do it right. Stratton Mountain Resort is one such place.

Start with the lush Green Mountains location. Add dazzling mountain and lake views. Throw in a magnificent 27 holes that are always impeccably maintained with just the right mix of challenge and playability. Top it all off with a relaxed, stress-free atmosphere.

Stratton Mountain Village is a wonderful replica of something you might find in the Swiss Alps. The resort opened in the 1950s, following a path similar to many other ski areas in the Northeast as American soldiers who had served in Europe during World War II searched for ski areas that replicated the idyllic resorts from across the pond. The post-war economic boom and the construction of the interstate highway system in the 1960s created the perfect storm for affluent urban and suburban dwellers from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, who could reach the mountains in a one-day drive.

The charming village of Stratton Mountain is delightful for strolling.

Golf came to Stratton Mountain in 1969 when the dean of New England golf course architects, Geoffrey Cornish, was hired to design an 18-hole course on land below the ski area. Taking full advantage of the many elevation changes, Cornish created a layout that is perfect for resort play. Wide, inviting fairways and large greens make par a reasonable expectation on every hole. It quickly became one of New England’s most popular courses. Cornish and his design associate Brian Silva returned in 1984 to add another nine holes.

“Stratton is a true mountain course with great views of the mountain and the lake,” says David Bowyer, Stratton’s director of golf. “Each nine holes have differences that appeal to people of varied abilities.”

Cornish’s new holes were interspersed with the original 18, and the three nines were named the Forest, Mountain and Lake courses.

“The Forest has a few more blind shots to well-protected greens, and possibly has more interesting par 5’s,” Bowyer says. “The Mountain offers generous fairways with more undulating greens and provides the best view of Stratton Mountain. The Lake has more elevation changes than the other two nines and I think features the more challenging par 3’s.”

Although difficult to pick out a hole to highlight on each nine, Bowyer points to the seventh at the Forest, the fifth at the Mountain and the third at the Lake as worthy of special mention.

“[The Forest seventh] is a challenging par 3 with a large bunker in the front left that protects an elevated green,” he says. “[The Mountain fifth] is a long par 5, over 600 yards from the tips, with an elevated tee and water down the right side of the hole. [The Lake third] is a short par 4 dogleg left, and once your drive finds the fairway, you are playing downhill to a green with the lake in the background.”

The resort also includes the Stratton Golf School, which was started by Arnold Palmer in the early 1970s and is regarded as one of New England’s premier training facilities. It includes three practice greens, sand bunkers and grass tees. The school offers private and group lessons, practice areas and video swing analysis.

The foliage provides a colorful backdrop in the fall.

As an incentive to visit, the resort offers foursome specials, stay-and-play packages, golf and lunch deals and the “green card,” which provides discounts on green fees for the season.

Stratton also offers the full resort experience of fine food, great accommodations and summer events and activities that includes hiking, paddle boards, a summer music calendar and a world-class tennis academy.

After golf, head up the access road to the base village at the ski mountain, where accommodations range from the comfortable Black Bear Lodge to the luxurious Hearthstone Lodge.

If you are looking for an experience that is relaxing and invigorating, set in a lush green environment with cool, clean mountain air and world-class hospitality, Stratton Mountain Resort has you covered.

The resort features a variety of activities, including kayaking.

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